Cubicle Warrior’s blog, week 11 of 213.
This week I am in Defense Acquisitions University (DAU) Technical Leadership in Systems Engineering. I find it odd to see the terms “leadership” and “engineering” in the same sentence. The Air Force definition of leadership is the “art and science of influencing and directing people (to gain their willing obedience, confidence, and respect) in order to accomplish the mission”. After one week in this class, and a very insightful Facebook conversation, I realize that the Air Force has the concept of leadership backwards. Air Force noncommissioned officers, especially the E-5s and E-6s, are the actual leaders that influence and direct others to accomplish the mission for the most part. Air Force officers that are serving as flight commanders are also leaders, but there are fewer and fewer “flight commander” positions as the Air Force shrinks and replaces flights with “sections” and “units”. Without a tactical command billet, few Air Force officers really influence others in order to accomplish the mission. The AF end strength currently sits just over 330,000 active duty members, but is projected to reduce more than 9,000 slots next year. Note that the lowest end strength was 305,000+, in our first year as an independent service. As a mid-level captain, I have only influenced and directed people as a flight commander equivalent in my last assignment. Other than that assignment, all I do is live the lie that I am winning the war on terrorism by using Powerpoint to convince management to fund war-fighting capabilities. The reality is that we cannot afford the war-fighting capabilities that we need to win this war, so we fund whatever we can. No Powerpoint slides or compelling technical leadership in systems engineering is going to change that. Whether we have funding or not, those mid-tier NCOs are constantly leading the most technical Air Force on earth. I miss those days. Meanwhile, I am not looking forward to returning to work after this class. Hopefully there is some progress in getting me cleared to do my job, so I can get back to making those war-fighting Powerpoint slides.
The highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country . Is it time to bring back the military draft? According to a rather compelling article by General Stanley McChrystal, “…we ought to have a draft. …if a nation goes to war, it shouldn’t be solely be represented by a professional force, because [it is] unrepresentative of the population…” He goes on to say that Americans would be more appreciative of this nation if more citizens were at risk, and had a more active role in participating in its defense, in connecting the military to national policy. I would add my personal twist to this that with only 1% of the population serving in the military, there is only 1% of the population earning government welfare in return for service. Maybe all government handouts should be converted into a quid pro quo system, instead of throwing taxpayer money at citizens who waste the money by not actively seeking employment, that purchase drugs and alcohol, and that continue to propagate the problems that government furnished welfare attempts to solve. I am not saying this will fix all the world’s problems, but it would change the philosophy of government service from “something for nothing” to “something earned in return for service”.
The time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself . The kids participated in their first California taekwondo tournament. Kilar medal count for the Ventura, CA tournament: Rissa earned 1st in both extreme hands & weapons, 1st in traditional forms, traditional weapons, and 4th in sparring; JR earned 3rd XMA weapons, 4th traditional forms, weapons, and sparring, 3rd combat weapon sparring. We are getting to know our California TKD family a little better and starting to settle into a routine here. It was an honor to watch the instructors and students compete.
Miscellaneous ramblings from earlier in the week:
- 50 days to college football [Cubicle Warrior blog link]
- Honey Bunny’s chicken tikka masala [Cubicle Warrior blog link]
- Honey Bunny’s Tex-Mex migas [Cubicle Warrior blog link]
- Sabra Beirut chicken shawarma [Cubicle Warrior blog link]
- Week 1 of 213 (May 6, 2012) (walterkilar.wordpress.com)
- Week 2 of 213 (May 13, 2012) (walterkilar.wordpress.com)
- Week 3 of 213 (May 20, 2012) (walterkilar.wordpress.com)
- Week 4 of 213 (May 30, 2012) (walterkilar.wordpress.com)
- Week 7 of 213 (June 17, 2012) (walterkilar.wordpress.com)
- Week 8 of 213 (June 28, 2012) (walterkilar.wordpress.com)
- Week 10 of 213 (July 8, 2012) (walterkilar.wordpress.com)
- Week 11 of 213 (July 15, 2012) (walterkilar.wordpress.com)